Rain, wind and high water foreshadow the return of the sun | HeraldNet.com


SNOHOMISH — The worst of this week’s torrid weather is behind us in Snohomish County.

Landslide danger will persist this week, but high winds and torrential rain faded Monday evening.

Meanwhile, the Snohomish and Skykomish rivers still ran high, but were receding, in common trouble spots.

The north Puget Sound region saw a wave of heavy rain early Monday, and as a cold front moved in from the Pacific Ocean, another burst of precipitation and strong winds came later. Then the wetness tapered off.

In the aftermath, Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday declared an emergency in 14 Western Washington counties, including Snohomish, authorizing certain agencies to assist in recovery. Flooding was particularly bad in Skagit and Whatcom counties.

Now the National Weather Service has forecast decreasing rain Tuesday, partly cloudy skies Tuesday night and partly sunny skies Wednesday.

Another weather system is expected Thursday and Friday, said Kirby Cook, a meteorologist with the weather service in Seattle. But it’s not expected to be nearly as significant.

Meanwhile, the risk for landslides and fallen trees remained high after the onslaught of rain and wind the past week.

“Certainly soils are saturated,” Cook said.

High wind on Sunday and Monday knocked out power for more than 30,000 Snohomish County PUD customers, according to the utility’s outage map. Gusts peaked at 55 mph on Index-Galena Road at 1:24 p.m. Monday, 53 mph at Paine Field just before noon and 50 mph in Arlington the previous night. On Possession Sound, gusts reached 66 mph early Monday afternoon.

Some roads were closed Monday, including part of Pioneer Highway and Norman Road in the Stanwood area, as well as Elliott Road near Snohomish.

And the Snohomish River was still running high in places late Monday, with some flooding expected to persist into Tuesday. Especially hard hit in recent days were lowlands in and around Snohomish and Monroe, where the river was well above flood stage.

Eric Kosarot, 33, lives on a houseboat at Hawkes Marina. This will be his third winter weathering storms in his boat on the mouth of the Snohomish.

Monday was stressful, Kosarot said, but he made it through with the help of his dad and some tires they put between the barge and the dock, so the boat wouldn’t bang against it.

As the tide rose in the afternoon, the dock rose almost to the same height as the pier, he said.

“It gets kind of extreme this year,” Kosarot said once the most intense danger had passed. “There’s a lot of scare to it for sure, but there’s also a survivalist joy from living through this. It’s beautiful right now — the waves, the sun reflecting on the water.”

Lincoln Avenue in Snohomish was closed where it intersects with First Avenue due to flooding Monday. (Ellen Dennis / The Herald)

Lincoln Avenue in Snohomish was closed where it intersects with First Avenue due to flooding Monday. (Ellen Dennis / The Herald)

Upriver, high water in the city of Snohomish submerged a stretch of Lincoln Avenue just south of its intersection with First Street.

Water was inches from flowing into the garage of the Becerra family. The grassy hill in their yard sloped into the shallows of the flood. Ana Becerra was home with her two children Monday morning. She couldn’t drive them to school, she said, because the road was blocked. Becerra, 38, has lived on Lincoln Avenue almost nine years, so she and her family are accustomed to flooding on the street.

“It’s a pain, but it’s also kind of fun,” Becerra said.

To prepare, the Becerra family put everything on tables and crates in their garage in case it floods again this year. In the past, the garage has filled with four inches of water.

Outside, a pontoon boat was tied to a partially submerged fire hydrant by the street. Becerra said her brother is trying to sell it, so he used the high water as an opportunity to showcase the boat.

“It seemed like a good intersection to boost advertising,” Jorge Martinez said. “But unfortunately, my sign is under water so people don’t know how much the boat is going for.” (His asking price is $100.)

Glen Swindoll, 46, sat in his white pickup with the window rolled down where Lincoln was blocked off, talking to a friend who was walking his dog.

Swindoll said he used his truck to tow a Subaru that got stuck in high water yesterday.

“I was nice and dry,” Swindoll said. “I told them I’d help tow them but wasn’t getting in the water.”

Good advice. Officials warn motorists: Don’t drive through floodwater.

The county’s flood safety guide has other tips, including turning off all utilities with the main power switch, not touching electrical equipment and going to the second floor or roof of your house if you can’t leave.

The friend chatting with Swindoll asked to remain anonymous but said he saw some folks jet skiing through the flood Sunday, “cruising the shallows.”

Meanwhile the future road to the Lake Stevens Costco looked like a river.

“They filled in the wetlands — the water has nowhere to go,” said Doug Turner, unofficial spokesperson for Livable Lake Stevens, a neighborhood group opposing the Costco.

Outlet channels from Lake Stevens overflowed and filled streets around the city with shin-deep muddy water.

While the flooding in Snohomish County was a mere inconvenience to many, rivers to the north in Skagit and Whatcom counties were approaching record heights. Authorities urged some residents there to evacuate.

Herald reporter Isabella Breda contributed to this story.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen



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